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April 21, 2016 1:57 pm

“The Report commends the UK Government’s commitment to UK defence and finds
that its accounting criteria fall firmly within existing NATO guidelines.”

Made up accounting to suit a made up objective? So, what’s the problem then?

Peter Elliott
April 21, 2016 2:32 pm

I don’t think that surprises anyone on here. We all guessed that would happen and if the new definitions are NATO compliant then its not actually a scandal per se.

The real issue is will the cash bedget now rise with GDP or will there be more fiddling every year, getting steadily less plausible and more outrageous.

No holding my breath :/

April 21, 2016 2:43 pm

The problem is whilst not a scandal this type of financial skulduggery is exactly why no member of the public or members of this board have no confidence in MP’s/Ministers & the Prime Minister.
In the long-term this corrosive effect leads to the UK becoming Greece. Where only the foolish or stupid pay Taxes, because if the PM doesn’t have to pay all his taxes then why should I.

April 21, 2016 6:35 pm

‘which concludes that the Government has achieved its 2% commitment to defence spending in the last year only through what appears to be creative (albeit permissible) accounting.’

A bit like off shore tax havens then, not illegal but morally questionable. But then again I suppose they can cut war pensions now for some of the efficiency savings the MOD needs to find.

April 21, 2016 11:46 pm

the report spells out the fudge this way.
” Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been unable to provide a robust data set identifying which years the costs of operations or the purchase of urgent operational requirements were included in its calculation of UK defence expenditure ..”

And then there is change from the way previous numbers were calculated
“.. we have managed to achieve the 2% promise for Defence Spending but if the MOD has only achieved this by including things like war pensions or intelligence gathering which previously came under other budgets..

Even when they added in extras that werent previously included they still had to go further into true creative accounting

The Other Chris
April 22, 2016 10:30 am

“…if the PM doesn’t have to pay all his taxes then why should I”

Only the whole pointless exercise demonstrated that the majority of the country have no clue how international trade works or that it returns high levels of legitimate tax, that the PM does pay his taxes, that the PM has paid more tax into HMRC than if he’d invested in an “onshore” bank, that the PM was entitled to pay less tax but declined to exercise a Parliamentary privilege, and that it’s the Leader of the Opposition who doesn’t feel like he has to declare all of his earnings…

April 22, 2016 12:15 pm

Seriously, what’s the problem here? Why are we getting all het up about creative accounting to meet a totally arbitrary spending target that the vast majority of NATO gives a stiff ignoring to? Or are we somehow extrapolating a sense of unfairness in that Defence has somehow been ‘cheated’ out of additional funding? Seriously? This is political headlining for NATO purposes; arguably it has absolutely nothing to do with UK Defence.

stephen duckworth
April 22, 2016 1:37 pm

The 2% of GDP was a NATO (USA) kick up the arse to member nations who are perceived to be falling well short of the levels of commitment to their national and NATO defence. Rather than chucking X billions numbers about as a comparison the percentage was to shame those falling short by illustrating to those citizens interested in their countries defence that their government wasn’t really doing its best to protect them. Politics aside on spending priorities, defence needed to be highlighted but inevitably became a political football and as such our government being close or actually on target wanted to tick a box just like we do with the 0.7% overseas aid target (didn’t they blow a couple of billion at the last minute at this time last year as they were falling short? any hints on a similar thing this year or is there enough chaos and suffering still going on for them not to skimp this year or are the people in charge actually doing their job now?)

Rocket Banana
April 22, 2016 6:29 pm

Budget = “an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time”

So one would budget for what one required.

If your income is £1000 and a new lock for your front door is £100 one year and you only need £10 for a new key fob the next, that is what you should budget.

Obviously, a contingency fund should be maintained, but that is not a yearly outgoing.

So… 2% is as meaningless as we all said it would be last time we had this conversation. Which tends to show that NATO haven’t got a clue about reality, and the UK polticians are just as creative fiddling numbers and words as the banks were when they buggered us all up.

Anyway, as long as we get the carriers, escorts, F35s and Crowsnest it doesn’t really matter about anything else ;-)

April 24, 2016 5:30 am

Some people are missing the point, the number may be arbitrary, but the government has said it has met it, but it hasnt. And the reason, it prefers a false accounting method rather than a real one, as that suits its political purposes. Its endemic through many departments as well as defence.